While not necessarily a spoiler of any kind, anyone who hasn’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which by the box-office numbers is no one), we are going to discuss a specific moment in the film, so decide whether to read on or not yourself.
A memorable part of JJ Abrams new entry into the on-going franchise saw Finn taking on a baton-wielding First Order stormtrooper, who bellowed “Traitor!” before taking on Finn in an epic duel, and the rest is Internet meme history.
The mysterious stormtrooper, who the internet dubbed “TR-8R” (traitor), has already become a fan-favourite, but who is he exactly?
In a new post on StarWars.com, it’s been revealed that his real name is FN-2199. But his friends call him “Nines.” As detailed in Greg Rucka’s excellent book Before the Awakening, Nines trained and served on a squad with Finn (then FN-2187) in the First Order. That explains why he seems just a little extra angry upon seeing Finn during the attack on Maz’s Castle. You can see FN-2199 in the image below by Phil Noto from Before the Awakening — he’s the trooper seated in the background with red hair. Who’d have thought?
There’s a reason that Nines gets to use an awesome weapon (which is called a Z6 baton). He’s riot control, and part of an elite squad that enforces order or squashes uprisings. While their weapons are non-lethal in theory, the Z6 can definitely cause harm or kill an opponent when used with brute force. Look, if a lightsaber can’t cut it, you know it ain’t good news.
You’ve heard his work before. Kind of! FN-2199’s voice (including, of course, “Traitor!”) was provided by David Acord, a Skywalker Sound sound editor. Acord’s production credits include Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Pretty good training for a stormtrooper. (Inside the armour is Liang Yang, a veteran stunt performer. Without his baton spinning, you wouldn’t be reading this.)